/ Home & Energy

Don’t fall for double glazing sales tricks

Man fitting windows

Making massive discounts may be the oldest sales trick in the book – but it’s a tactic that’s still working for the double glazing industry. Is a straightforward quote really too much to ask for?

Given the choice, would you buy a bottle of wine for £4.99, or one that was marked as ‘reduced from £12.99 to £4.99 for today only’? The answer’s obvious to you and me, which is why salesmen use this sneaky tactic to push their products, whether it’s wine or new windows.

Given the double glazing industry’s bad reputation, we wanted to see what really happens when a salesperson visits your home. So we invited 18 reps from the biggest companies to call on our undercover researchers, and recorded their sales patter. We found that 15 of the 18 quoted a high initial price only to cut it dramatically – in many cases, by half. This would clearly leave you with the impression that you’d bagged a bargain.

But have you really bagged a bargain?

Everest offered huge discounts in four out of five of its visits to our undercover researchers – if they signed up on the spot. The biggest ‘saving’ was nearly £17,000. In one of the visits from Anglian, the salesman quoted a high initial price and then admitted, ‘Obviously, you don’t pay this…’ This conversation left us wondering whether anyone pays the first quoted price at all.

The effect of these smoke and mirrors is to leave customers bewildered about what a reasonable price is. And that’s before you take into account dodgy claims about ‘government scrappage scheme’ discounts, for schemes which don’t exist.

Both Anglian and Everest bandied around government funding for discounts, but there isn’t any. So listen out for these claims as they’re a giveaway that your rep isn’t telling the truth.

How to stay savvy

The tactics used by these big firms are the oldest tricks in the book. To stay savvy, go with a firm that’s been recommended by someone you trust, and get three quotes to compare. We recently heard from a customer who’d got the big companies in to quote for his double glazing job – they knocked thousands off their initial prices. But their final quotes were still far more than he ended up paying to a small company that was recommended to him.

We’re pleased to see that a new Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme has been set up; it’s undoubtedly needed. Still, none of the big players have joined, so it’s a bit of a damp squib. Clearly, there needs to be more accountability for these dodgy sales tactics, so we’ve sent our findings to trading standards officers and asked them to investigate these firms.

Hopefully this will force these companies to understand that we’re not haggling over a bargain buy at the local market. Double glazing is a major investment, and they need to take it seriously.

Comments
Guest
Llewelyn Daniel says:
15 August 2016

Does anyone know if there is a British law which requires businesses to refund deposits taken within a specific time if the customer cancels the contract within the set cooling off period.

Guest

Llewelyn-According to -whatconsumer.co.uk the supplier must refund you within 30 days of cancellation ,without charge, unless you have been told you will be liable for the cost of returning the goods .

Guest

Thank you Duncan. The company told me they would refund me within 28 days. I cancelled almost immediately after signing up as I felt that it was very strange to quote £35000 to do a 3 bedroom semi and then drop to £17000 and take a deposit of £8000. I then searched on the web and found this helpful article with the helpful comments. I am now paying just over £8000 for the job with more window openings and A+ glass in the bedrooms. But even this price may be a little high and they say we must not tell anyone how much we paid them.

Guest
Mitchell Peace says:
18 August 2016

Saw that a company called Smiths in Basildon was recommended. Wanted to say much appreciated as they did a fabulous job on the windows I ordered from them. Would recommend.

Guest
R J J says:
22 October 2016

I had a salesman come to our house to quote for our old windows and we got caught in the deal cos we had to make a decision there and then due to the promotional offer before Christmas else we would lose the offer. The salesman quoted £11k + VAT but we said that wasn’t in our budget. So he asked us how much we would be affordable. We weren’t quite prepared as we didnt have our budgets in mind due to recent renovations due to our new home. So we said it would be £6.5k but we were looking at 2 months income including deductions so we didn’t quite have that much to pay for anyway. So the salesman said he didnt have authority to bring the price down and called his marketing manager who makes all the deals. During the call, I had a doubt that he wasn’t speaking to the manager as I noticed that the phone wasnt on. I could here that the salesman said please call me back when you have finalised the offer. After some time, the salesman asked if we had range in the house as he hasn’t got a call from the manager so he called him back and there and then we heard him say “ah, so you have got the prices” and then one thing lead to the other and he came up with a figure of £6k (without VAT) which was of course in our budget range. This ofcourse included that we offered to put pictures of our old and new windows on their magazine and a sign outside our house for 2 weeks. It never occured to us at the time to ask him to put the manager on speaker or rather speak to the manager on anything as we were in full trust of the salesman’s talks. Later, when he called his finance team, we could hear their voice over the phone very loud and clear. We signed the contract anyway, in good faith, and the salesman told us in particular to keep this deal confidential (another salesman’s tricks so we dont know the other offers around when we speak to others).
After the salesman left, we made a few checks online and I came across this reviews too and it clicked!
We cancelled the order via email (although the salesman mentioned “firm order” in writing). A surveyor would be coming anyway in due time to check on a few things but since he hasn’t shown up in the last 2 day we went ahead with the cancellation.
We hope to get our deposit back (£2k) and await to see what the company replies.
We will still be looking around for other offers and would need recommendations on some of the top installers with affordable prices for our home windows and a patio door.

Guest
Burak says:
27 February 2017

What was the name of the company ?

Guest
R J J says:
16 November 2017

DG solutions

Guest
michael griffin says:
26 October 2016

just put me off buying after reading this.